20-21 Covid Guidelines & Operations for Local Resorts

20-21 Covid Guidelines & Operations for Local Resorts

Latest Update: Tuesday, December 22, 2020
After the first couple weekends open we are hearing some changes happening at resorts: limiting the amount of people skiing. Let’s face it, lift lines are long and it’s just impossible to mitigate a holiday crowd trying to ski. The good news is you can still have a beer… with food. And make sure to wear a mask!

Skip to: Blue Knob PA, Boyce Park PA, Canaan Valley WV, Hidden Valley PA, Holiday Valley NY, Laurel Mountain PA, Liberty Mountain PA, Peek’n Peak NY, Roundtop PA, Seven Springs PA, Snowshoe WV, Timberline WV, Tussey Mountain PA, Whitegrass (XC) WV, Whitetail PA, Wisp MD

I always do a Lift Rate Roundup around this time, but you know… 2020. As this dumpster fire of a year wraps up, I am sure it has a few more crisis to dole out. In an effort to avoid that, I am going to try and help my fellow snow people to get out there safely this year. I don’t do this for the resorts, I do this for you (and me). We needed an easy place to see all the ski area guidelines in one place.

The question remains: Can we ski and ride this season? Do we need a special pass? Yes, and kind of yes. Read on! I got you covered…

The good news is every single one of these resorts have stated they are following enhanced sanitization protocol and social distancing will be enforced. Face coverings are required in most areas of the resorts, including lift lines and on the lift.

*Note that ALL of the below information is subject to change and definitely did after the first few weeks of the season played out. I’ll try to update this post through the season if I get wind. If you decide to go, please make sure to check each resort’s policies in full – I have a real job, y’all.


Southwestern & Central Pennsylvania Ski Resorts

Baby Pennsylvania mountains ❤

Currently, indoor space capacity for PA is 50% for all spaces including dining, lobbies, bathrooms, etc. Expect to see staff regulating this. You also cannot drink at a bar, must be consumed if dining only.

Boyce Park | Southwestern PA – Open!
This is a small hill in Monroeville/Plum, PA. I highly recommend learning to ski or ride here. To comply with covid measures, only 50 people are permitted on the mountain and the lodge is closed. Online lift ticket sales are mandatory – Visit Site

Blue Knob (Indy Pass) | Central PA – Open!
Walk-up ticket sales are OK, but online purchases are encouraged. Warming up in your vehicle instead of on public spaces is also encouraged. But, “Blue Knob All Seasons Resort has no plans to require skiers or riders to make a reservation [to ski or snowboard].”

  • All lessons and snow tubing must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance
  • All food is available for take-out only. 12/10/20
  • Unless skiers/riders have traveled together, they must ride the chairlift as a single.
  • Groups will be scheduled at staggered arrival times to increase distancing.

Blue Knob Winter Operations Plan

Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain (Highlands Pass) | Southwestern PA – 7 Springs & Hidden Valley Open!
LM not open yet, but offering a season pass price “rollback” offer.
7S was the first resort that I researched, and all this came as pretty shocking to me, but just wait…

  • All purchases have moved online for these 3 resorts, including purchasing lift tickets, rentals and lessons.
  • Lift ticket availability will be limited as of 12/21. Their online system has been down a lot so be sure to purchase like Tuesday or Wednesday if you want to go on a weekend – Lift Ticket page.
  • No strangers will be placed on a lift together, and if you prefer to sit as a single, they will do that. They’re going to work to space out the line including side by side distancing.
  • *No indoor dining as of 12/10 Utilizing their base area for outdoor dining and adding new walk-up/takeaway options around the resort.
  • Masks are required. Including in the lift line and riding the lift. There will be staff at lift reminding you of this.

7 Springs Winter Operations Plan | Hidden Valley Winter Operations Plan

Tussey Mountain | Central PA – Open!
A little hill out by Penn State, which I don’t think has the capacity to go all online. I think that you’ll be ok showing up and purchasing a lift ticket at a Point of Sale. Two singles can sit on opposite sides of their quad lift, too. Lessons will be restricted to 6 students.

Tussey Mountain Winter Operations Plan

Whitetail, PA

Whitetail, Roundtop, Liberty Mountains (Epic Pass, Vail Resorts) | Central PA – Open!
I looked up Whitetail only. I previously worked at Liberty when Peak Resorts acquired these three, and moved right before Peak Resorts was purchased by Vail Resorts. Ah, consolidation. Epic pass resorts all have the same operations plan.

It looks like you will have to reserve a spot to ski or ride at these resorts. Pass holders will get priority access to reservation days. This is probably for the best and will make lift lines amazing, but… wow! Take a look at Whitetail’s Reservation Details.

Also, these resorts are cashless everywhere including hotel and restaurants.


West Virginia Ski Resorts

One of these fun WV resorts!

Canaan Valley (Indy Pass) Open!
I have not found any ski-specific outline of Canaan Valley’s operation. It is a West Virginia State Park and they will be following guidelines such as required face coverings and 6-ft distancing. There is a note that they are “updating our online booking capabilities” and to call to make a reservation at this point.

Canaan Valley Safety Guidelines

Timberline (NEW!)Open!
After some turbulent times, Timberline is OPENING! This WV resort has some of the best terrain our area has to offer… and then it closed. In comes snow angels from midwest to resurrect this amazing spot with $10M in NEW everything! “Opening for winter 2020/21 with 2 NEW lifts, a remodeled lodge, 2 new terrain parks, a new beginner area, and increasing snowmaking!” Read More*Note for Christina to ski this immediately and post about it.

Anyway, here’s some quick bullets, and it looks like ticket sales will operate as usual for now.

  • Masks and distancing required and enforced
  • Group reservations are limited, Lesson capacity limited
  • Latest HVAC UV sanitization is installed
  • Season Passes will rollover to next season if they have to close the resort
  • The lodge will be pass-through only for tickets, passes, and rentals.
  • Foodservice with a limited menu will be available outside on the deck, with outdoor seating only.
  • Lessons will be available, but beginner terrain will be limited and hike-able only.
  • Both chairlifts will be open.

Timberline Opening Winter Operations

Western Territory views at Snowshoe, WV

Snowshoe (Ikon)The Shoe’s BEEN open!

Buy online. Capacity limits will be in place, so walk up lift tickets are not guaranteed. Snowshoe sold out holiday weekends prior and after the Christmas holiday. So they mean it! “We strongly encourage our guests to purchase their tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.” Here is where you buy Snowshoe lift tickets online. I recommend you do this early in the week prior to weekends and holidays.

If you have a Season Pass or advance purchase a package, you will be good to ski and ride.
“At this time, Ikon Pass, Ikon Base Pass, Snowshoe Unlimited Pass, and Early Season Pass holders will not need reservations to ski and ride during the 2020/21 winter season at Snowshoe. Guests who advance purchase a package (including lift tickets/passes and lodging, etc.) are guaranteed mountain access for the dates of their booking.”

  • Reduced Lesson Capacity
  • Camps are cancelled
  • Expanded outdoor dining, no restaurants are closing but will be monitored by capacity.

Snowshoe Winter Operations Plan

Whitegrass (XC)OPEN for XC!
Canaan Valley is one of the greatest places to cross country ski. Right on Whitegrass’ home page: coming soon – online reservations for passes, rentals and lessons, plus reduced access to lodge and cafe pickup-only. Visit Site


MARYLAND SKI RESORTS

Whales at Wisp Resort, MD

Wisp Resort Open!
I hope you got the Mission: Four’dable ticket pack if you don’t have a season pass. Although I have a Snowshoe season pass, I regret every time I miss out on this because it’s a much faster drive to get out on the mountain. Four’dable is $229 for a four pack of any-time tickets, which comes out to $57.25. A regular ticket is $89, so you save almost $32 each time. That’s a dozen wings and a couple BL smoothies!

This is another fully online set up with all products and activities to be purchased in advance.

  • Indoor capacity in MD for all spaces is also 50% – includes restrooms, lobbies, etc.
  • Nice bonus: Wisp will pro-rate a credit to your pass if they have to close due to COVID.

Wisp Resort Winter Operations Plan



Southwestern NY Ski Resorts

Peek’n Peak Open!
Another strong recommendation to purchase tickets and activities online in advance. And lessons reduced to 10 people.

This is interesting, and unique to this resort: Season Passholders will need to check in for use in contact tracing efforts. Ticket buyer info is collected at purchase. These records will be retained for a minimum of 28 days.

Once more, outside food will not be permitted to be brought into resort dining facilities, including at The Main Lodge. (Believe me, this policy is great for the resorts. I’ve seen crock pots at the dining halls at Liberty… LOL!) Grab n go will be made available as well as takeout for those staying in condos.

Peek’n Peak Winter Operations Update

Holiday Valley Open!
The WAS most relaxed one yet, but it didnt last very long. HV has a very lengthy section on cleaning protocols, and yet again, another “we strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets online in advance… we may not be able to offer walk up tickets.” However, passholders are still free to come and go as they please. To ease the potential strain during peak periods, we are planning to open Yodeler and Mardi Gras lifts for Classic passholders at 8 am every Saturday between December 26th and February 27th.”

Holiday Valley Winter Operations Update

Well, good luck. It’s all pretty straight forward at this point. Do what you need to do. Get some blankets for the car, and increase your data plan if you can. As Tussey Mountain says, “Don’t be the reason there is no season.” Be safe. We got this. Snow love to you!

TL;DR: Buy your lift tickets online before you visit any resort this winter.

Holiday Valley, NY – some other year…

19-20 Lift Rate Roundup | My Top Mid-Atlantic Mountains

19-20 Lift Rate Roundup | My Top Mid-Atlantic Mountains

To celebrate the first snowfall in my area (which happened today, mid-November!), the first post of my usual lift ticket rate roundup is here! This year, I outline the top 5 ski resorts near and dear to my heart. These ended up including a few of the larger ski areas that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m including deals for skiers and snowboarders as well as lift ticket rates, late season pass purchase payoff rates, and the new multi-pack options that are great for those that just aren’t getting to the mountain enough.

Ski Area Map – ChristinaSkis’ Version of the Mid-Atlantic

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that every year I post a pre-season Lift Rate Roundup in honor of the first snow. With a new state, new job and rounding into my final year of a masters program, I just don’t have the bandwidth for full-time snow fun research. So, the 2019-2020 rates and deals will come out in phase posts (someone remind me).

Of course, it’s extremely opportunistic to purchase passes early to get the best rates on skiing and snowboarding this winter. If you haven’t, this table is for you. If you’re not sure of what something means, see the Key below this table.

My Favorite Mid-Atlantic Ski Resorts (in no order)

RESORT ADULT W/E LIFTGOOD DEALSPASS X PAYOFFMULTI CARD
Seven Springs
Southwestern Pennsylvania
33 trails, 750′ vert
$89 day
$83 twi
$49 night
Don’t miss
early rates…
Super7 the Deal
$695/7.8x
Super 7 Card = $435
($62.14/lift)
Liberty Mountain
South-Central Pennsylvania
16 trails, 620′ vert
$77 dayEpic Local
Great
value w/ Peak
acquisition
$739/9.5x3x Card = $159
thru 12/2
($53/lift)
Wisp Resort
Maryland Panhandle
34 trails, 700′ vert
$84 day
$79 8hr
$69 4hr
$39 night
$49 Mondays,
LLR
$599/7.1x4-Pack = $189
thru Nov 24
($47.25/lift)
Snowshoe
South East
West Virginia
60 trails, 1500′ vert
$109 day
(no other)
Redic. Pass in
March for $259
$559/5.1x3-Pack = $159
thru Nov 14
($53/lift)
Holiday Valley
Southwestern
New York
60 trails, 750′ vert
$88 day
$85 8hr
$77 4hr
$38 night
Purchase online
& save up to $10
$1060Ultimate Night,
8 night tix = $207
($23/lift)

Table Key

  • LLR = Lift, Lesson & Rental, W/E = weekend, ES = Early Season
  • Pass X Payoff = how many times you have to ski or ride at the mountain to pay off your season pass *multi-packs are a good option if you don’t think you’ll go that much.
    Payoff if you purchase early season can result in amazing savings…
    • Wisp – Early Season (March) $279 unlimited Adult 30+ = 6x
    • Snowshoe – Early Season Pass (March) Adult 13+ $459 = 4.2x
      *Rediculous Pass is Rediculous early March Sale at $259 = 2.3x
  • Season Pass rates in the grid are listed at regular rates, if you buy now.

When the time comes, you’ll see two or three more posts with more stats. I am thinking of 1.) listing just Southwestern Pennsylvania resorts, 2.) a post with my favorite southwestern New York, Maryland and West Virginia mountains, and 3.) a fun one – “micro mountains” and the best places to learn. I’ll list Learn to Ski Day deals to kick-off January, to boot!

Now that I’ve set some winter-season blogging goals, let’s see if I stick to it…

Update August 6, 2020: I did not stick to it…

Lift Rate Roundup 2018: Tri-State / Mid-Atlantic

Lift Rate Roundup 2018: Tri-State / Mid-Atlantic

Oh man! A very late roundup of lift ticket and late season pass pricing is finally on the blog for the 2018-2019 season. Resorts in western PA and more have opened up this weekend, if they haven’t been open already! Check out the alpine skiing and snowboarding areas just a drive from anywhere in Western Pennsylvania and listed in PA, WV, MD and NY. The perfect places for a day or weekend trip–just be sure to check the web first for who’s officially open, because, well, that’s going to be changing on the daily. It’s only November!

Resort Map

Ski Resorts in PA, MD, WV

Rate Chart

Notes about this chart depicting lift ticket rates for the 2018-2019 season: the season pass rates depicted here are non-sale, late purchase pricing. Many of these resorts have spring or fall pre-season pass sales where the majority of them are sold (and when you should buy if you’re seriously considering owning a pass). Unfortunately I missed gathering info on that pricing, so you see the rack rate. All season pass rates are depicted as a single person, full access/classic season pass as purchased today. A few of these resorts are listed under Highland or Peak Pass, which means the resorts are part of a group and the passes have multi-mountain benefits. All lift tickets are set as a single, extended or 8-hour rate, whichever is the “most offered” at each resort.

RESORT
NAME
SLOPES &
TRAILS
EXTENDED
WKND LIFT
NON-SALE
INDV. PASS
TIMES TO
PAYOUT
PENNSYLVANIA
Highland Pass
7 Springs 33 trails $87 $660 8 visits
Hidden Valley 26 trails $69 $569 8 visits
Laurel Mtn 20 trails $57 $569 10 visits
Peak Pass
Liberty 16 trails $82 $579 7 visits
Roundtop 20 trails $78 $579 8 visits
Whitetail 23 trails $84 $579 7 visits
Blue Knob 34 trails $68 $449 7 visits
Mystic Mtn 6 trails $43 $199 5 visits
Tussey Mtn 8 trails $52 $269 5 visits
MARYLAND
Wisp 34 trails $79 $599 8 visits
WEST VA
Timberline 40 trails ___ $499 ___
Canaan Valley 47 trails $68 $497 8 visits
Snowshoe 60 trails $99 $479 5 visits
NEW YORK
Peek’n Peak 27 trails $63 $599 10 visits
Holiday Valley 60 trails $78 $989 13 visits

Did I miss one of your faves that you can get to with an easy drive? Let me know in the comments. See you out there! ❄